Leave: Supporting your employees, and protecting your business

Work is a central part of life, and an important one. However, it isn’t your employees’ whole life.   Whatever the reason, employees need to, and are indeed entitled to, take leave.

It is important to remember whenever you hire additional employees, you always need to account for the new employee’s leave entitlements.  This is not just because everybody needs a break, but because it’s your legal obligation as an employer.

When we refer to ‘leave’ we are most often referring to annual leave. However, over the period of their employment, individuals will need to take leave for, and are entitled to,  a variety of reasons, such as long service leave, bereavement leave or parental leave.

There are several different types of leave which employers and prospective employers need to understand, not only to meet your legal obligations, but because your resourcing need doesn’t vanish when employees take leave.

Leave types

  • Annual Leave
  • Sick / Carers Leave
  • Compassionate Leave
  • Bereavement Leave
  • Long Service Leave
  • Community Service (Jury Duty/Emergency Management)
  • Parental Leave
  • Family and Domestic Violence Leave

Whether you have one member of staff or many, employers need to know what entitlements (paid and unpaid) that employees can access, whether they are covered by the national employment standards of the fair work act, or by an applicable award.

Accumulating Leave

How employees accumulate their leave depends on a number of factors:

  • the type of leave,
  • employees’ eligibility for each type of leave, and
  • how much of a certain type of leave is available.

Some leave is accrued and balances need to be calculated and shown on payslips, such as  annual and sick/personal leave. Casual employees will have access to unpaid leave, and some types of leave have eligibility requirements that need to be met, such as parental leave.

Additional Leave

In addition to normal entitlements, businesses are now beginning to go above and beyond by offering more variety in the types of leave that can be taken. This includes offering such leave as study leave, birthday leave, and even pet leave.

Other businesses are often choosing to offer a higher entitlement, such as the ability to earn an additional week of leave after five years service.

These offerings can boost their employee benefits for new and existing employees, making the business an attractive employer.

Whatever your business situation, it is important to understand your employees leave entitlements and correctly accrue and pay these entitlement.

Are you meeting your business leave entitlements? Are you interested in attracting new talent using an upgraded leave offering?

Talk to us at  Small Business Society to find out how we can help you.

The information provided in this document is for your guidance only and is general in nature. It does not constitute as legal advice. It is the responsibility of the individual to seek legal advice where required.


Receive our monthly newsletter and get regular templates, checklists and resources to assist you on your Human Resources journey.

Get our free 45 page Human Resources Guide right away to help you take the first steps in setting in place the platform for a best practice human resource function for your small business.

* indicates required


Are your leaders the best they can be?
Sign up to Small Business Society and we will send you our FREE 8 point plan for effectively supporting and developing your leaders and managers.

FREE 8 point plan for successful leaders


About Kate Tongue

Kate Tongue is the founding Director of Small Business Society.

She is a qualified and experienced Human Resources professional with more than 10 years of experience across the private and public sectors.

Her particular interest and experience is in managing the employee life cycle, delivering process improvements, and Human Resource strategy.


Looking for more information on the various stages of the employee life cycle or Human Resources in general?  The following may interest you.

Articles to assist you with your staff engagement:
Effective employee engagement
Staff engagement through a healthy work environment

Articles to assist you with recruitment and probation:
FAQs about probationary periods answered
How to get the most out of reference checks

Do you know your Human Resources terms?
15 must know HR terms

Plus lots more information and advice:
Small Business Society Blog

One Reply to “Leave: Supporting your employees, and protecting your business”

Comments are closed.